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THE PITS; PITBULL FIGHT RING EXPOSED Film shows devil dogs in death fight 15 sick clubs across North GAA star admits his role.

Byline: By JILLY BEATTIE

THESE are the sickening scenes of pitbull fights exposed by an undercover reporter.

A lengthy probe by BBC journalist Mandy McAuley has revealed that Tyrone GAA star Gerard Cavlan is a ringleader in one of North's dog-baiting gangs.

Miss McAuley also infiltrated another group in Tandragee, Co Armagh, and came face-to-face with the leader of the ruthless Farmers Boys gang.

The programme, screened tonight at 9pm, shows how Miss McAuley followed the gang's trail to Finland where she uncovered an international dog-fighting ring.

For the first time on film, the Spotlight Special will show the horrific reality behind the blood sport.

At least 15 gangs operate in the North - five in Belfast alone - and some have overseas links.

Cavlan was fined in court in April this year after pleading guilty to possession of an illegal dog.

At the time, his barrister said the footballer had no involvement with other illegal activities.

However, the Spotlight team obtained evidence Cavlan is heavily involved as joint owner of dog-fighting gang The Bulldog Sanctuary Kennels.

After being raided by the USPCA, Cavlan admitted while being secretly filmed that he was still keeping fighting dogs, saying: "I still have a dozen or 15 dogs, like."

And when explaining a pitbull's strength, Cavlan added: "Sure he had him in the chest, and he shook him for 25 minutes. A real hard-mouthed dog."

The Spotlight team also met leading breeder and exporter Robert Gonzales in Finland who explained how easily pitbulls can be exported.

When asked if he claimed the dog was a pitbull on the animal's passport, Gonzales said: "I've imported a lot of dogs so I know how to fool customs. All you need is a computer and a printer."

j.beattie@mgn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

VICIOUS Two pitbulls locked in a death grip in an underground den; DOGGED: Reporter Mandy; PROBE: Cavlan
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2007
Words:313
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